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Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is one of the most important preventive health measures for both mother and child. Breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months (and sustained for up to two years or longer with appropriate complementary feeding) is important for the nutrition, immunologic protection, growth, and development of infants and toddlers.

Perinatal Services BC believes that breastfeeding is a population health strategy that must be protected, supported, and promoted to optimize the health of mothers and their infants.  

While BC’s breastfeeding initiation rate is 93%, only 42% of infants are breastfed exclusively for six months. This highlights the need to continue to implement actions that advance breastfeeding in the province. 

Please note: Guidelines >5 years old should not be consulted or utilized for any clinical purposes. They are available for historical reference only.

External Resources

Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Birth to Six Months (Joint Statement Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Breastfeeding Committee for Canada)

Launched by World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF in 1991, the Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

Perinatal Services BC endorses the Baby-Friendly Initiative as a framework for the provision of evidence-informed care to mothers, infants, and families, and upholds the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes to ensure the appropriate marketing and distribution of human milk substitutes and other products related to the code.


Perinatal Services BC sits on the Provincial/Territorial Implementation Committee for the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC). The BCC is the national authority for the BFI with the mandate of overseeing the implementation, assessment and monitoring of BFI in Canada. 



The BC Women's Provincial Milk Bank screens milk donors, collects and pasteurizes donated milk, and distributes it to hospitals in BC.

Milk from a baby’s own mother is always the first choice. When her milk isn’t available, donor milk is the next best thing. Donor milk has active beneficial properties and is similar to mother’s own milk. It provides babies with antibodies to fight disease and infection. Human milk is best for all babies. It is especially important for sick and very tiny babies.

The demand for milk is high and often exceeds supply. New donors are always needed. Download the list of Facilities with Donor Milk Collection Depots.
These materials promote community support of breastfeeding.

Click on the images below to see print ready versions of breastfeeding promotional materials.


Download and print as many posters as you need for your sites. 


Breastfeeding Decal 2018.JPG Breastfeeding Tipsheet 2018.JPG


BFWelcomePoster.jpg WBWPoster_FirstNations.jpg


WBWPoster_Work.jpg

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, however, it is celebrated in Canada from October 1-7. It is celebrated in October because it is the 10th month of the year and symbolizes the first week of a baby’s life (after nine months of pregnancy) when a baby may begin to breastfeed.


The #WBW2021 slogan “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility” will focus on how breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health and wellbeing of all, and the imperative to protect breastfeeding worldwide. The theme is aligned with thematic area 2 of the WBW-SDG 2030 campaign which highlights the links between breastfeeding and survival, health and wellbeing of women, children and nations.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA)  reminds us that although support at the individual level is very important, breastfeeding must be considered a public health issue that requires investment at all levels. The concept of ‘building back better’ after the COVID 19 pandemic will provide an opportunity to create a warm chain of support for breastfeeding that includes health systems, workplaces and communities at all levels of society. A warm chain of support will help build an enabling environment for breastfeeding and protect against industry influence.  It is time to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action to protect breastfeeding at all levels.

Learn more about World Breastfeeding Week.


Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge

In October, the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge celebrates breastfeeding and milk-banking and demonstrates promotion, protection, and support for breastfeeding women and their families. It’s a chance for education and peer support to be done in a fun social way. 

The challenge is usually held the first Saturday in October of each year to see which geographic area (province, state, or territory) has the most breastfeeding babies, as a percentage of the birthrate, “latched on” at 11 am local time.






SOURCE: Breastfeeding ( )
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